Five Books to Read When Your Semester is in Shambles

Like most other college seniors, I’m sitting at home, wishing to be with my friends, and hoping upon hope that I can graduate in this calendar year.  Taking a glance at my bookshelf at home, I’m reminded of the good memories I’ve created in reading some great books.  I’m also reminded of how little time and motivation I feel I have for work; even what’s left of me after work is scarce.  But in these uncertain times, I’ve found myself taking a book off my shelf, one that I haven’t touched in years, and reading a bit of it.  If you’re like me and usually feel better after reading but find it difficult to dig up the motivation to do so, just think about how happy it might make you, and how you’re allowed to read as slowly or as infrequently as you’d like.

Here are some books that make me feel better and reignite my faith in humanity:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, J.K. Rowling

This is an obvious choice for me.  The Harry Potter series is one of my all-time favorites and picking up that first book brings me right back to reading as a kid and falling in love with the story, the characters, and the magic.  For many of us, this series holds a lot of particularly wonderful feelings, so it’s definitely on my list.

  1. The Tsar of Love and Techno, Anthony Marra

I read this book in the last months of my senior year of high school, so it makes sense to include this in a list for my senior year of college.  The novel has many different characters located in different time periods, all connected through a Russian landscape painting from the 19th century.  It’s powerful, moving, and extremely well-written; it also beautifully exhibits the humanity that can be found among us in dark times.

  1. Humans of New York/Humans of New York: Stories, Brandon Stanton

Thousands of people are familiar with Brandon Stanton’s @humansofny social media accounts that showcase the majesty and emotional expression of NYC residents and beyond.  These two books aren’t novels, but they’re certainly no less touching; Humans of New York is a full of amazing photographs from Stanton’s project that are equipped with captions while Humans of New York: Storiesis more focused on the interviews.  Basically, you can’t go wrong with either one.  And if you can’t get the books, spend some time reading their stories on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

  1. A Hundred Thousand Worlds, Bob Proehl

It mainly follows a mother and son through a cross-country journey where they stop at Comic Cons; the mother, a former actress in a cult science-fiction T.V. show, is travelling west to re-unite her son with his father.  It may seem like a lot if you’ve never read comic books or been to Comic Cons, but it wasn’t to me at all.  I found it to be incredibly sweet and very easy to connect with, a great read to help you feel good again.

  1. The Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan

It’d be difficult to grow up in the early 2000s and 2010s without coming across the Percy Jackson series and/or owning at least one book from Rick Riordan’s sprawling worlds (and multiple series) of Greek demigods and monsters.  For me and many others, these witty and adventurous books hold happy memories and a great world in which to escape trying times.